Film review: Shelter

You won’t need to suspend your disbelief with Shelter so much as throw it out of the nearest window as what starts as an effectively moody psycho-thriller gets more outrageously daft with each twist and turn.

Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers gamely battle against the tide of silliness as a psychiatrist and her multiple-personality patient respectively, but as soon as the former starts babbling about “Satan-worshipping mountain witches” and starts wandering around empty houses straight from the Big Book of Horror Clichés, it’s hard to keep a straight face.

After an intriguing setup, scriptwriter Michael Cooney – whose equally barmy Identity explored similar themes – loses the plot spectacularly. Everyone gets an attack of the stupids, with Moore’s behaviour in particular becoming less believable by the minute, and the action hurtles headlong towards a deranged climax involving an ancient cine-film, some soul-sucking witchcraft and a laughably inept chase sequence.

Two committed central performances and a few (presumably) unintentional laughs save it from one-star ignominy, but Shelter is ultimately too schizophrenic to recommend. **


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